Making green buildings better, emerging trends for 2012

January 20, 2012

The green building industry is set to take off in 2012, according to Builder Online, as an expert in the sector noted that businesses are beginning to see that energy efficiency is a cost benefit.

Jerry Yudelson, a former member of the U.S. Green Building Council's board of directors and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) national faculty member, noted that the construction industry would have modest growth this year, but a shift to green building would occur.

"It seems that most people have figured out that the sky isn’t going to fall in and they are going to get back to doing business … but with an emphasis on what I call ‘frugal green.’ In the past there was a feeling that you could spend money to add green features. I think today the real challenge for construction and design professionals is ‘How do I do this on the same budget?’ and I think that’s the core trend," Yudelson said during a webinar on GreenExpo365.

According to Builder Online, he went on to describe 10 green "megatrends" for 2012, as he noted that despite squeezed budgets for many companies, the market is poised for growth.

"You make money if you go green. If you don’t go green, you’re at a marketplace disadvantage," Yudelson said.

Yudelson noted that five of the trends would come to fruition in the U.S. These consisted of a rebound in green building growth, a slowing of federal momentum, a rise in the number of companies looking for LEED certification, the growing importance of water issues and the necessity of zero-net-energy for commercial buildings for owners in the new market, according to the news source.

GreenBiz reported that the rise in the number of green buildings is due to several factors. These include the corporate adoption of a variety of voluntary programs, the evolution of building codes and standards and the progress made by programs aimed at improving building design and construction.

The Department of Energy designated a specific project, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), to design and develop energy efficient buildings and technology. The effort, located at the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard, is comprised of a consortium of institutions from the private sector, academia, government and the energy industry.